Impracticality Put to a Stop
by Cecilia Johnson
Sometimes it's difficult to write about hot-button topics, simply because many people hold strong opinions and may seem to be more educated about the issues than oneself. However, the death penalty is one contemporary issue that I have had the opportunity to study in-depth, and I've come to some conclusions about it that I think could make a difference in today's society. I disagree with the death penalty, but not for the reasons that most do; however, there are serious consequences for the use of capital punishment that I believe are worth the discontinuation of the practice.
To be frank, I don't have qualms about the morality of capital punishment. It's a holdover from British rule in colonial times and has been debated for centuries in the United States--yet the grounds on which I would discontinue it do not have to do with the right or wrong of the practice, but rather with the practicality of the whole ordeal. I disagree with the way it's being handled today, since cases generally must proceed through the ranks of a lengthy appeal process, costing the state government billions of dollars annually ("Death Penalty"). Not only do the cases consume valuable tax dollars and the time of attorneys/employees involved, so do the execution procedures themselves.
Because of the enormous drain on resources that the death penalty entails, there must be some kind of reform in how these cases are handled. The first option to come to mind is the overhaul of policies concerning capital punishment; however, since many legislators aren't terribly eager to associate themselves with such a controversial issue, it's unlikely that any changes toward this end will come to pass in the near future. Therefore, it might be best simply to dispose of the practice entirely, not for a moral cause, but for pragmatism.Furman v. Georgia
408 U.S. 238 (1972), a case that made it all the way up to the Supreme Court, asserted that the death penalty should not be enforced throughout the U.S., but predominantly not for the reasons that many have rejected it. Only two of the justices of the Supreme Court, Justices Brennan and Marshall, explicitly asserted that the death penalty was morally wrong (Carte). Justice Stewart, on the other hand, denounced capital punishment for a different reason: its arbitrary nature.
No matter how many idealistic initiatives to prevent crime pop up in the near future, there will always be misconduct in our world, whether it occurs on the streets or in corporate America. The death penalty is a serious deterrent to potential law-breakers, but it's impractical in ways that probably will not be fixed by the system. Therefore, it should be abolished in favor of the safety of federal and state resources. When it comes to recompense for gross offenses, life sentences will have to do.Works Cited
Carte, Lief H. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States
. Ed. Kermit L. Hall. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. Print.
Death Penalty Information Center. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty
This blog post is an official entry for the Law Blogger’s Scholarship
, sponsored by The Law Office of Joshua Pond, http://www.joshuapondlaw.com